Friday, April 15, 2016

Nielsen, Bubba Make More Pre-Trial Claims

The back and forth between lawyers for Nielsen and Bubba The Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continued this week.

InsideRadio report the parties have entered the pretrial discovery phase of the measurement giant’s unprecedented ratings tampering lawsuit against the syndicated host, and the rhetoric shows no signs of slowing.

In a filing overflowing with legalese, Clem’s team responded to a motion by Nielsen to strike 11 of the 15 “affirmative defensives” asserted in Clem’s answer to Nielsen’s amended complaint. Specifically, Clem asked the court to deny Nielsen’s motion to strike 9 of the affirmative defenses, requested that one be stricken without prejudice and consented to striking another one.

Much of the filing has to do with the issue of what obligation Clem has, if any, to Nielsen in light of the fact the he is not a Nielsen ratings subscriber nor a direct employee of Beasley Broadcast Group, a ratings subscriber that airs his show in Tampa.

There’s a lot riding on the case for both parties. For Clem, it’s $1 million in damages sought by Nielsen plus a hefty legal bill, to say nothing of his reputation. A conviction for fraud, violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, conspiracy and other nasty things wouldn’t go far in helping The Sponge soak up more affiliates.

For Nielsen, it’s about defending the integrity of its PPM ratings currency and sending a clear message that efforts to distort the numbers won’t be tolerated.

While the filings keep on flying, Clem’s Tampa ratings are declining. According to Nielsen’s March survey, Clem ranked fourth in men 25-54 in Tampa with a 5.6 share, down from a 7.4 last November when he was No. 1 in the demo.

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